Entrepreneurial Leadership is a new and growing concept in leadership that seeks to converge the good qualities of entrepreneurs and leadership to drive businesses be they new or old, big or small.
The aim of this is to ensure that, such businesses leverage on leadership, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, business ideas just a few to mention to scale up and built businesses that last beyond one generation.
Peter Northouse (2010) defines leadership as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (p. 3)
however, an entrepreneur is one with a business idea or one that has identified a solution to problems or opportunities and has taken the needed business risk with the intention of solving the underlying problems to earn a return (profit)
According to Esmer & Dayi, (2018) Today, having just leadership or entrepreneurship qualities by business managers is not enough for the success of enterprises. Managers need to have both leadership and entrepreneurship qualities in order to be successful. At this point, the concept of entrepreneurial leadership emerges. You are a half based one-legged business owner if you lack these.
Entrepreneurial leadership is interested in organizing and motivating people towards the achievement of common objective through the building and leveraging on innovation, better risk optimization, taking advantage of opportunities as and when they come, building a responsive and agile business while managing and leading organizations to become dynamic environments in which work is done.
Unfortunately, many business owners want to be the best managers. One question is, if you become the best manager or manage your business so well, who will be leading the business?
This means every business owner or entrepreneur needs the develop, learn and master leadership skills to be successful. When successful business owners share their stories, Entrepreneurial Leadership takes center stage in everything they say without them knowing. Being an entrepreneurial leader is like being an athlete in a 4 by 100 relay.
A business thrives on teamwork, not individual brilliance hence the business owner must be able to provide the business the all-important leadership and stop being the manager in that sense.
Business owners must know that, as entrepreneurs, they cannot succeed in their businesses alone. Thus they need others to help success, talk of customers, workers, suppliers and others who are directly or indirectly connected to the business.
These mean that Entrepreneurial Leaders need some qualities to fall within the Entrepreneurial Leadership domain as business owners.
You must seek to improve your skills in fields that will be beneficial to your business and future expansions. For instance, learn about customer service, learn the basics of accounting and bookkeeping, learn about negotiating skills, read about your business and about labour law for instance. You need to improve your self because that will positively impact your business in the long run.
In doing this, you will be acquiring essential technical skills the business needs. When the business is in tough times, when mistakes have been made, take responsibility and start dealing with the challenge. Entrepreneurial Leaders do not complain in times of problems, they own up and solve it.
Entrepreneurial Leaders make decisions, execution is a secondary matter. Planning and taking the best decision on the next line of action are critical and come ahead of executing. If you fail to lead your business, you are in trouble. This will make you an example for those who work for you, your customers and other business connections you have.
What are the features of good entrepreneurial Leaders?
You are the BRAIN of the business
Being an entrepreneur comes with the need to possess certain qualities. As an Entrepreneurial Leader, you are the BRAIN of the business. This implies you have to plan. Fish dies or goes bad from the head. If you do not plan, you are simply not putting in place a business plan which is your blueprint as a business, there is a high possibility that your business will hit the roof soon.
Keep thinking, keep planning, keep brainstorming and ask all the questions that will guide you and your business to plan. You have probably head that, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail and that, its better to plan and fail done not to take the initiative at all.
Challenge your self and others working with you to think outside the box.
Be the HAND of the business
Again, you need the HANDS to plan. This represents your personal effort in planning. You may engage others in the process but be part of the process every step through it. The vision of the business is with you, you understand better what it is all about and so put your shoulder to the wheel.
Leaders need to be more hands-on, to be able to identify any opportunity available, be in touch with teams and investors and be flexible and agile in the face of changing the business environment. Be in the driving seat.
There are times you have to bring onboard new hands thus investors, like-minded partners to grow the business.
You are the MOUTH to communicate the business
An Entrepreneurial Leader needs MOUTH to communicate. You are the king of communication as a business owner. You have to tell your workers about your vision, plans to be implemented. They don’t know it all, you have to sell your ideas to them, convince them of its benefit to the business and themselves. If this is done successfully, every effort of staff will be directed toward achieving the same goal of the firm.
Through communication, create a learning environment that is constantly updated with relevant and reliable information. This will build on the experience of the organization. Communicate your vision to the team and work with them to make the vision a reality.
You as the leader not must not only invest significantly in learning and updating your knowledge, but you must also create a learning environment in the organization, encourage others to improve their knowledge, widen their experience, and tackle multiple challenges.
Encourage employees to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. Successful businesses today are leveraging on IT, creativity ad innovation and so must the business leader be.
The EYE od the business must see beyond today
EYES refers to the ability to tell where the organization is going as well as to watch over the business as a shepherd will do. You cannot have a business you want to take to the next generation and keep your eyes closes. Have a vision, see where you want to take the business to and identify those who can help you get there.
NOSE and EARS are for sensing danger. NOSE and EARS are for sensing danger and finding out why things are not going the way you planned it. In business, the expectations are not always the actuals. Adverse variances need to be examined and worked on. Don’t remain in your office, spend time with staff, ask questions, interact with them and get to know the work and personal challenges they have which can cause problems for the business. Show empathy and help manage their personal problems. Yes, you have to because their emotional stability and safety will be translated into the workplace.
As an Entrepreneurial Leader, you are the SKIN of the organization. You are the best to feel the pain of failure, the best to know the level of risk taken financially as well as in other areas of operation. This means you have to provide the needed leadership for the business to help it survive so as to save your investment or skin. You don’t leave things for chances.
You are the HEART of the organization. You are the HEART of the organization. Break down and the entire business machinery may be affected. Be strong, bold, brave and dare to be different. Take initiative, take a calculated risk and challenge the status quo.
You are the FEET of the organization, in tough times, you have to be on your feet and face the challenge head-on. This requires self-belief and confidence from years of experimenting and failures of the past from which you learned. If you a new entrepreneur, your personal successes and failures prior to going into business ae key areas you can draw inspiration from.
When the going gets tough sometimes in business and requires the entrepreneurial leader to persevere. Don’t quit, keep going till you find what you’re looking for.
Being the SPIRIT of the business, keep moving. Brief life into your business with the choices you make. Look at the long term success and not the short term.
To grow your business and succeed with the new ideas or the solution you have for the problem identified, lead and take a calculated risk, do your best to lead your self then you can learn to lead others in the business. Self-management is key and is the product of effective self-leadership. Be optimistic and keep your head up. If you can achieve this, then you are getting positioned to lead and manage your business, lead others and resources of the business.
In conclusion, Self-Confidence, Communication Skills, Self-Care, Adaptability, Calculated Risk-Taking, Education and Continual Learning, Decisiveness and Passion must be balanced in raising the business from its current position to the top.
Self-management is effectively followed when we consistently achieve self- leadership.
‘As a response to the fast-paced and changing business context, the concept of ‘entrepreneurial leadership’ (EL) arose, placing a particular emphasis on the exploration and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities Röschke, (2018)
Source: Wisdom Hammond, College President, Pinnacle College
Wisdom Hammond is a Lecturer, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Author, Public Speaker, Leadership Coach, Digital marketer, and a Human Rights, Activist – Project Director for Ghana- Humanrights Reporters Ghana (NGO)
Esmer, Yusuf & Dayi, Faruk. (2018). ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP: A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK. 4. 10.30798/makuiibf.332570.
Lang, R. (1999). Peter G. Northouse: Leadership-Theory and Practice. Organization Studies, 20(2), 354-354.
Röschke, A. (2018). The concept and evolution of entrepreneurial leadership: a bibliometric analysis. In Research Handbook on Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Edward Elgar Publishing.